Ozzie Guillen has reached out to Big Z about joining Marlins

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There was speculation at the end of the regular season that the Marlins might have interest in bringing Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano aboard this winter to pair him with his off-field friend and fellow Venezuelan native Ozzie Guillen.

Now those rumors are gaining serious traction.

According to beat writer Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Venezuela’s El Nacional is reporting that Guillen — the new Miami Marlins skipper — has already reached out to Big Z about a potential trade.

Zambrano is owed a whopping $18 million salary next season, so any deal is going to be tough to swing. But if the Marlins are willing to take on more than half of that remaining cash commitment, they should be able to make the marriage a reality.

Zambrano, 30, posted an underwhelming 4.82 ERA and 101/56 K/BB ratio in 145 2/3 innings this season, but he still has a cool 3.60 career ERA and 7.6 career K/9. Maybe he’ll flourish again with a change of scenery.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.